You want to work in Web Development and Design?

Web Development program at Media Institute

Starting out

You’ve been doing your research and you keep reading that Web Development and Design are careers in demand. Jobs with high pay where you can work remotely from home. Always the first on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and countless others- it all seems so simple and easy to you. You’ve always had an eye for design and can navigate a computer easy enough. Let’s jump into this Web Development and Design, right? Great! But there are a lot of options on how to proceed… now what should you do?

Web Development and Design

The first thing that you’ll need to do is to become familiar with some of the terms in Web Development and Design. You should note that Development and Design are two very distinct roles that work with each other but are very different. It’s easy to remember:

  • Development usually means coding and “back-end”
  • Design usually means interaction and “front-end”

Front-end vs. Back-end Web Development

Ok, so what does “front-end” and “back-end” mean? It may sound an odd way to classify roles but it’s quite straightforward. “Front-end” deals with anything that the end user interacts with such as an app or website.

  • How does it look?
  • How does the user interact with the site or app?
  • Does the order in which the user completes tasks make sense?

Whereas “back-end” deals with how the website or app deals with the information and interaction from the user.

  • Someone entered a bunch of data- where does that information go?
  • What is done with that information?
  • Should any information go back to the user?

These are just a very small sample of questions that someone within Web Development deals with on a day-to-day basis. If you already feel yourself being pulled towards one side or another it will make your life that much easier.

Typical Skill Sets for Web Development

Maybe you haven’t made up your mind on which route you want to follow yet. If you knew some of the skill sets needed for each area, it could potentially help you decide. Here is a handy list that outlines a few of the base skills but by which is no means conclusive. Most people know at least two or three areas within their section. As a handy rule- the more you know, the more marketable you are. There are also certain skill sets that you will learn that would apply to both areas.

Front-end Web Development

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Design tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop, etc
  • Javascript
  • GIT
  • UX (User Experience) knowledge

Back-end Web Development

  • Code, code and more code. There are dozens of programming languages out there that you will use on a regular basis. Some of them are: JavaScript, HTML, HTML 5, CSS, JQuery, Java, .NET, .ASP, XML, PHP, Ajax, ActionScript, REST, SOAP,MySQL (including database optimization and maintenance)
  • Agile/SCRUM
  • Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Understanding of QA (Quality Assurance) practice

Next Steps

Hopefully by now you have a good idea about which area that you’d like to know more about. But don’t worry if you haven’t- that’s perfectly okay as well. This blog is a first in a series that will list and define a number of roles and jobs within the field of Web Development, help clear up a lot of common misconceptions, and eventually will start to discuss tips and tricks within various areas.

…that’s great, but why should I listen to you?

My name is John Maier and I have 16+ years of teaching and over 25 years experience in UI/UX and front-end development. I am the Head of Design for an international company that creates apps and websites for a variety of government roles in Europe and abroad. I’ve worked for fortune 15 companies in both entertainment and health care fields.

One of the biggest issues I’ve always had with education and learning environments is that they teach with the assumption that everything will always work smoothly and with level headed people. This is rarely the case as often egos, politics and technical issues complicate matters. This blog will be honest and from my point of view- what I like to call “the real world.”

As with any complicated topic, there can be 50 ways to do something differently than the way I suggest or discuss. You may not agree with my decisions or conclusions- to think otherwise would be vain. But that’s okay- I’m always willing to listen to other ideas as communication, discussion and yes, disagreements are how we learn and grow.

If you’d like to discuss this with someone at the school, you can contact us or view more information about the Web Developer program.

John Maier

About John Maier

John Maier has been teaching for the last 16 years and has over 25 years experience in Video, Design, 3d Animation, Film, UI/UX and front-end development. He is the Head of Design for an international company that creates apps and websites for a variety of government roles in Europe and abroad and brings his experience and passion to the courses that he teaches. John lives with his wife, two sons, two cats and a dog in wonderful and frigid Minnesota.